Friday, February 10, 2012

Mind Games

I'm sure it happens everywhere, after New Years Day you show up at the gym and the place is packed.  There are more people there then you have ever seen (or at least since last January).  Then it dawns on you...resolution time.  Well I guess its obvious that people don't stick to their resolutions because come mid-February it's back to normal.  Finding the motivation to exercise if you're not already an active person can be very tricky.  It is not easy to start (and continue) to do something that you never made time for or never enjoyed previously.  Trust me I know.  I do not particularly enjoy most forms of exercise but once I get in a groove I really do like the way I feel afterwards. 

Presently I am fortunate enough to have the time to exercise without having to go to great lengths to squeeze it in.  Like poor Nelsy, he heads to the gym at 9:00 pm some nights.  Ooph.  There was a time (a few years back) that I used to be at the gym at that time too.  Not totally fun, but at the time, necessary. 

Since I am not fortunate enough to just love doing it, I come up with tactics.  I find that mind games work wonders.  As it turns out these mind games have a name, Commitment Devices. You can learn interesting things on  Freakonomics Radio while tricking yourself into exercise .

Here's what you do: Sign up for a race that involves a distance you've never run before!  Works like a charm.  You sign up, pay money and know that the day is going to come when you have to make your way through 4 crazy hilly miles in potentially really crappy weather (March in Syracuse is not the prettiest thing you ever saw) without dying on the side of the road.  So I hit the gym or during this exceptionally mild winter, the streets, and keep on working on it until I can run 4 miles.  It works for me.  I tried this on my friends last year.  It did not work on them.  They didn't fall for it.  At all.  But that's okay.  We all work differently. 

I just signed up for this year's Tipp Hill Run, and I am a little nervous.  I haven't run 4 consecutive miles in quite a while.  I will manage though.  Last year my goal was 45 minutes.  I know, not the most lofty goal for 4 miles but for a non runner and the God, the hills, its not so bad.  I think I finished in 44 and change. I was pleased.  I'll try for better this year. But even if I'm not faster, at least I'm putting in the time doing something that's good for me. 

If you're looking for motivation to get moving, give it a whirl, it might just work for you too.

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